Thursday, December 26, 2019

2019 in review part 2: digging its heels

January was loaded with expectations: the fraudulent "reelection" of Maduro months earlier was not recognized by over 50 democratic countries.  Maduro was left to rely on Russia, China and a few low weight accomplices.  The National Assembly elected a new chair, Juan Guaido, young and promising who became an instant hit. Avenues filled again with people protesting against the regime while this one seemed unable to put up any significant show of popular support.

A year has passed and not only Maduro is still in office but there are rumors that among the 50+ countries opposing him some would be willing to sit down and make some deal.

What happened?

If one were to believe the radical opposition the fault lays on Guaido who did not ask Trump to send the Marines, who did not fire X Y and Z, etc, etc:  This is largely false. If it is true that the opposition did not play some of its cards right, it is even truer that this one had few cards to play and none a sure shot at unseating Maduro.  The fact of the matter is that Maduro holds all the power cards, from tribunals to the armed force.  It is pointless to note that he holds all of that through a complex and large net of corruption and blackmail. The point is that the regime holds all and the opposition has little leeway in offering incentives to tear away the regime underlings.

And yet, this is not the explanation as to why the regime, plagued with international sanctions, is still on top.  2019 has shown all that the regime is willing and able to do to remain in office. We had more political prisoners, more murders of these, more closing media, more buying of consciences, more blackmail to the populace through more misery and dependency.  And worse of all, a relieved look at the millions leaving Venezuela as lowering the burden of the regime and possibly sapping the strength of the opposition. A mere replay of the Cuban recipe in 1958/60 to get rid of the opposition to Fidel: let them go to Miami.

The regime has received world condemnation for its human right abuses and corruption, sanctions have fallen on its leadership and relatives, but this one has dug in its heels, showed what it is able to perpetrate to remain in power. It is true that Russia and Turkey helped the regime escape some of the sanction effects, but this is not enough to explain its survival. The heartless and reckless regime did it on its own, rolling over whatever needs to be flattened. And goading about it.


  1. I came across your blog a few days ago while preparing lessons on economic/political crises for my students. You're an absolutely amazing voice from within such an insane situation, and I can't even begin to express how grateful I am to you for spending all this time, effort and energy on your posts over the years. It's such a reminder that we can read newspapers and watch TV segments all day long, but so often it's outside reporters and journalists doing the explaining, and not someone who's actually living within the system and situation.

    My heart has been steadily sinking over the past days as I've been reading through your entries from oldest to most recent. It's frightening to see the decline of a country in fast forward, especially when there are so many moments when it could have gone the other way. I hope there will come a point when Venezuela can turn her fate around into a better direction again, but it feels like hoping for snow in summer.

    I wish you all the best for 2020 - may it be a brighter year for you than this past one with good luck, good health and joy from sources big and small.

  2. Still reading and still enjoy reading your blog since the beginning! Thank you. Wishing you the best of health in the coming years.

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  4. Word of the dictator:"I don’t see the process they call dollarization as bad,”
    "More than 4 million have fled the country and now many of them are working abroad and sending home money for their families. The Post cites an estimate that this amounted to as much as $3.5 billion dollars in 2019. So the socialist regime that drove millions out of the country is surviving, in part, because of those who fled socialism."


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